Natalie Portman

BATD ON Apr 09, 2009 AT 3:27 pm

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman is the quintessential beauty and the brain.  If you were to take a peek at this ambitious starlet’s CV, you would find a degree from Harvard University, big screen appearances alongside Harrison Ford and Susan Sarandon, Broadway plays with the likes of Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and a long list of humanitarian efforts including her work as an Ambassador of Hope for FINCA International.  And with showbiz veterans like David Letterman calling her “the new Audrey Hepburn“, what’s not to like about Ms. Portman?

Natalie was born to a doctor father and artist mother in Jerusalem, Israel.  At age 3, her family relocated to the U.S., first living in Washington D.C. before settling permanently in Long Island, New York.  As a young girl, Portman trained as a dancer in ballet, tap, and jazz and was spotted by a Revlon agent who urged her to become a model.  After turning down the modelling offer, she decided to focus on acting and began attending theatre camps during school holidays.

Natalie with Zac Posen

Natalie with Zac Posen

In 1994, a thirteen year old Portman landed her first feature film role in Luc Besson’s Leon.  After appearing in the short film Developing, her big break came with the 1995′s Heat.  Acting alongside Al Pacino and Robert De Niro (and holding her own!), Natalie gained immense accreditation in the industry and was soon cast in other films including Beautiful Girls (1996), Star Wars Episode I (1999), Anywhere but Here (1999), Where the Heart Is (2000), and Star Wars Episode II (2002).  Portman also managed to make her stage debut, appearing in the 2001 production of “The Seagull” opposite Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.  It was also during this time that Portman began drawing attention to fashion designer, Zac Posen.  Wearing his dresses to premieres and other high-profile events, the world soon took notice of Posen’s talents.  Owing much of his initial success to the actress, he has openly called Natalie his muse and source of inspiration.

Natalie as an Ambassador of Hope in Mexico

Natalie as an Ambassador of Hope in Mexico

The budding actress reprised the role of Queen Amidala in the third instalment of the Star Wars series in 2005 with Episode III, but only after showing she can conquer an array of characters including parts in the powerful Cold Mountain (2003) and the quirky 2004 dramas Garden State and Closer.  In 2006, we saw a new side to Portman, a bald side to be exact!  For her role in the action-thriller V for Vendetta, Portman was forced to shave her head, an experience she has since said she loved.  While we thought she pulled off the look better than most could, we were happy to see her long, brunette locks make their return in 2008′s The Other Boleyn Girl.  Her performance in this riveting period drama certainly caught our eye and has left us eagerly anticipating more.

Natalie at the Oscars

Natalie at the Oscars

While Natalie has been busy establishing her acting career over the years, she has still made time to fit in things she feels are important.  Education being at the forefront for her (she skipped her first Star Wars premiere in order to study for final exams!), Portman decided to attend Harvard University and pursue a degree in psychology.  Successfully balancing her coursework with the limelight of the film industry, Natalie graduated in 2003.  In addition to her education goals, she has never lost sight of her humanitarian work.  An advocate for animal rights, the actress has appeared in PSA’s for PETA’s anti-fur campaign and even launched a range of vegan footwear in 2007Portman has also made waves working with FINCA International to counteract poverty in Third World Countries.  Oh, how we love when actors put their celebrity to good use!

Next up in the war-drama, Brothers, don’t miss Nat’s return to the big screen later this year.  And with co-stars like Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire (hottie alert!), keep your eyes peeled!

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